I am a professor in Applied Mathematics. My group's primary research interest is the motion of stratified fluid mechanics, such as lakes, the coastal ocean and the atmosphere. I am part of the Environmental and Geophysical Fluid Mechanics group. The primary tools we use are computational, including both publicly available codes such as the MIT gcm, as well as codes developed in house. In house development is centered on high order methods, including the pseudospectral model SPINS. In terms of the career arc I am a mid-career researcher. This means my group is fairly large and I have a track record in the literature. For interested students the implication is that there is the opportunity for completely new research, as well as research that follows up on past work carried out in the group. This can be useful in terms of the spin up time to learn new tools, since there is institutional memory for the tools developed in our group. Here is how I see research challenges organized over the next decade:
- Feature Detection in Large Simulations: As three dimensional simulations of multi-scale phenomena become the norm in computational fluid mechanics, the need for tools that extract features of interest (e.g. a meandering river plume in a simulation of a Great Lake) surpasses the need for computational power as the primary control on research progress. Examples of tools we have used in our group include POD in its various incarnations, wavelet methods, coherent vortex methods such as the Q-R variables and Hussein's lambda-2.
- Cold Seasons: As climate change truly ramps up in the next 50 years it is expected that the cold seasons in the mid to high latitudes will undergo major changes. Indeed, the Arctic is already a hot bed of climate change. Cold seasons have unique physics (e.g. lake and sea ice, the density maximum of water at 4 degrees Centigrade) with many phenomena ripe for exploration through high resolution simulations.
- Multi-Scale Fluid Mechanics: With the computational power available to the group it is increasing possible to consider phenomena at widely varying scales. Our group has made various contributions to the study of boundary layers (a centimeter thick) beneath large amplitude solitary waves (more than 10 m long), with opportunities for field relevant research in the near future for individuals interested in pushing the computational envelope.
- Non-standard Coupling in Biology: Our group has done work on the swimming of plankton, as well as on methods for particle implementation in CFD codes. Because biology is so complex, and because measurement techniques have improved so much, there is considerable opportunity to model biology-physics interactions on unprecedented scales and in novel contexts (e.g. muddy bottoms).